We are in the dawn of 2018 and yet, across the oceans that separate us, Americans are reeling from their 18th school shooting for the year.
Eight of those have resulted in injury or death.
For those who value children’s lives over the hobby of moving bullets through air, the echoing screams of the young victims are impossible to escape. Overnight, yet another gunman stormed the halls of a building that, like all of the others, promised to be a safe haven for teenagers. He made the skies rain with terror until, at last count, 17 people were gone. At time of publishing doctors and nurses are trying to save the teachers and students who are bleeding from the fresh holes in their bodies.
LISTEN: Amelia Lester explains why US gun laws remain unchanged, despite massacre after massacre. Post continues after.
Police officers found students hiding in their classrooms, texting their mums and dads for help.
“[My daughter is] trapped with her 10 friends,” one father told CNN. “A window blew and everybody is screaming and running, and she said she ran in the closet and she’s still there.”
The assailant was a former student and it was Valentine’s Day.
The President responded to the massacre with this:
It’s a hollow platitude from the man who won the White House, in part, off the back of his close ties to the National Rifle Association and a promise to protect gun rights. This is, after all, the same man who delivered the keynote speech at last year’s NRA convention; the first president to do so since Ronald Reagan. This is the leader who signed a bill in February 2017 to allow mentally ill individuals to purchase guns, reversing the executive order Barack Obama initiated after the San Bernardino shootings in 2015.
So those “prayers and condolences” are a touch inadequate.
Especially when you consider that the Florida shooting suspect, Nikolaus Cruz, was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after being deemed “troubled” and dangerous by staff.
“There were problems with him last year threatening students,” a maths teacher told CNN. An unidentified student added: “He’s always had a certain amount of issues going on. He shot guns because he felt it gave him, I guess, an exhilarating feeling.”
It’s probably the same sick kick a 15-year-old Kentucky gunman felt when he claimed the lives of much-loved teenagers Bailey Holt and Preston Cope three weeks ago.
According to gun control advocates at Everytown, the rate of school shootings in the US is now one a week. Since the Sandy Hook massacre of 2012, where 20 children aged between six and seven years old were murdered, when the motto was 'never again', the US has experienced more mass shootings than the rest of the developed world combined.
More guns do not make societies safer. Every statistic shows that.
But by all accounts, nothing will change because the people with power don't have the balls to care. For some people the NRA's cash drowns out the cries of dying children.
And the hands of Donald Trump, his associates, and their frankly imbecilic supporters are so soaked with blood they are numb.